History of the House
The turbulent past of a grand house
A celebration space & treasured family home
Loughcrew estate has been owned by the Naper family since 1681 and the house which once stood at here is said to have been cursed: ‘Three times will Loughcrew be consumed by fire. Crows will fly in and out of the windows. Grass will grow on its doorstep.’ The original houses which stood here were indeed thrice destroyed by fire, most recently in 1964.
The main house you see today was sympathetically rebuilt, with the help of architect Alfred Cochrane, out of the shell of the old orangery, azalea houses and furnace rooms. Two striking palm houses, used as an entrance hall and a dining room, bookend either side. It encompasses many charming original 19th century features, as well many stunning aspects which have been added by the present owner. It is not only a celebration space but a treasured family home.
Originally built in 1821 by the famous English architect Charles Cockerell, an innovator of neo-classical architecture, the buildings which make up today’s main house are attached to a Parisian style courtyard which was designed to complement the grand, greek revival house Cockerell also designed. All that remains of this house is its portico entrance which has been reassembled to look like a mini-Acropolis. The courtyard buildings, which include guest apartments and reception rooms, boast projecting porches with carved limestone detailing, as well as timber sash windows and slate roofs. The courtyard itself has a cobbled floor.
Records of dwellings which predate the original house on the Loughcrew estate can be seen in a 1612 civil survey. It describes a motte and bailey and ring fort, as well as 60 wooden huts, a long house and a mill house. Oliver Cromwell confiscated the estate off the Plunkett family (who lived there before the Napers) in 1641.
You can read more about the history of Loughcrew House and St Oliver Plunkett’s church here.
Loughcrew’s house and gardens, along with several other historical features dotted throughout the surrounding 200 acres of grounds and the surrounding country is also home to some of Ireland’s oldest archaeological treasures – cairns which date back to the Neolithic Period. Altogether they form part of an Irish landscape filled with curiosities steeped in religious significance.